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Obama heads to Texas with no plans to visit border

Republicans Urge Obama to Visit Texas Border


By JULIE PACE

For President Barack Obama, the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border is increasingly becoming a political liability, giving Republicans a fresh opportunity to question his administration's competence and complicating the debate over the nation's fractured immigration laws.

Still, Obama is resisting calls to visit the border during his two-day fundraising trip to Texas, where he arrives late Wednesday afternoon. Instead, Obama will hold a meeting hundreds of miles away in Dallas to discuss the crisis with faith leaders and Texas officials, including Republican Gov. Rick Perry.

Obama's trip comes one day after he asked Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency spending to get more resources to the border.

The roundtable discussion in Dallas is seen by the White House as a way to address the immigration issue while avoiding awkward optics at the border. Tens of thousands of unaccompanied children have arrived there in recent months, many fleeing violence in Central America, but also drawn by rumors that they can stay in the U.S. White House officials say most are unlikely to qualify for humanitarian relief and will be sent back to their home countries.

Obama's decision to skip a border visit is likely to provide more fodder for the Republicans and the handful of Democrats who say the president hasn't responded quickly and forcefully enough to the mounting crisis.

Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, raised the prospect that Obama's failure to take a firsthand look at the border crisis could be akin to former President George W. Bush viewing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina from the air instead of on the ground.

"I'm sure that President Bush thought the same thing, that he could just look at everything from up in the sky, and then he owned it after a long time," Cuellar said on Fox News. "So I hope this doesn't become the Katrina moment for President Obama, saying that he doesn't need to come to the border. He should come down."

Perry, a possible GOP presidential candidate in 2016, has been scathing in his criticism of Obama, saying the White House has failed to respond to his repeated warnings about a flood of minors at the border.

"I have to believe that when you do not respond in any way, that you are either inept, or you have some ulterior motive of which you are functioning from," Perry said Sunday.

The president was traveling to Texas from Denver, where he also raised money for Democratic candidates.

Obama spokesman Josh Earnest said the White House wasn't worried about the optics of the president traveling to Texas without visiting the border. Officials also pointed to Obama's request to Congress on Tuesday for additional resources at the border as a sign of the president's engagement in the crisis.

If approved by Congress, the funding would go to increase detention, care and transportation of unaccompanied children, help speed the removal of adults with children by increasing the capacity of immigration courts, and increase prosecution of smuggling networks. The money also would help increase surveillance at the border and help Central American countries repatriate border-crossers sent back from the United States.

Democrats and some Republicans on Capitol Hill seemed open to the emergency spending request. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said the Senate would act on it this month.

But Republicans criticized Obama for pulling back on plans to pursue legal changes that would allow the administration to send the minors back to Central America more quickly. The proposals had infuriated immigrant advocates, who say the changes could result in harsh treatment of kids and eliminate their legal protections.

"He just decided not to do that because of the pushback he got from some in his own political base," said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas. "We need to solve the problem, but you don't need to just ignore the cause of the current crisis. And that requires more than just appropriating $3.7 billion for additional judges and the like."

The border crisis has added a new wrinkle to the stalled immigration debate in Washington. With no sign that House Republicans planned to move forward on a comprehensive overhaul bill passed by the Senate last year, Obama announced that he would seek to address the matter through executive actions.

Republicans say it's that same approach that has led to the current crisis. The GOP argues that Obama's 2012 decision to allow some young people brought to the U.S. illegally to stay in the country has fueled the rumors in Central America that all of the minors crossing the border can stay.

But Democrats argue that the GOP is simply trying to shift attention away from the party's inability to act on a politically potent issue for Hispanics, a key voting bloc Republicans have failed to attract in the past two presidential elections.

"The Republicans don't have any credibility on this issue," said Jim Manley, a former top adviser to Reid, the Senate majority leader. "This is coming from the same crowd that refused to vote on the bipartisan bill. This is the same group that failed to act."

---

Follow Julie Pace on Twitter at http://twitter.com/jpaceDC

© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.

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1000|Char. 1000  Char.
R July 09 2014 at 9:56 AM

He isn't a President. He is a P.O.S. wanna-be community activist, who has NO right trying to run this country. Shoot some billiards, but can't take a half hour flight to the Rio Grande. What a puke, he is. When will someone in Congress have the balls to call for an impeachment? He makes me sick every day.

Flag Reply +73 rate up
12 replies
blackbelt.ron July 09 2014 at 11:10 AM

Obama created a
giant stinking pile of sh*t at America's southern border and does not want to go there and step in it..!
Barack Hussein Obama is the
Worst President in American history

Flag Reply +66 rate up
10 replies
let.freedom.ring July 09 2014 at 11:20 AM

Barack Hussein Obama WANTS this invasion of our country to continue.!
He is building an
'illegal immigrant nation'
of future DEMOCRAT voters.!

Flag Reply +61 rate up
6 replies
boydsg July 09 2014 at 9:56 AM

Rick Perry confronted the Obomba administration back in 2010, with the problems of the security of the border. He chose to do nothing then and will continue to do nothing now but talk about what he will do.

Flag Reply +51 rate up
6 replies
Pat July 09 2014 at 11:23 AM

NO big surprise that Barack HUSSEIN Obama has no plans to visit the border ...

he's more interested in attending fundrai$ers in Texas!

remember how he reacted to those four Americans' DEATHS in Benghazi?

he jumped on Air Force One the next day to attend a fundrai$er in Vegas!

Flag Reply +47 rate up
4 replies
bigcatdaddy July 09 2014 at 10:03 AM

All of the problems we have here and abroad and obama is on the campaign trail. obama won't address the problems we have because he has no clue how to fix them. Yet he has time to stop at a bar and play some pool, or at least get a photo op, like he is just a regular Joe.

Flag Reply +43 rate up
6 replies
Phil July 09 2014 at 10:32 AM

52,000 unaccompanied children at the border was reported a month ago. It's probably over 60,000 by now. The NYT reported 290,000 "immigrants"
mostly women and children at border since April. Obama's agents are busing them to cities across our country. If citizens show up to protest they are met by agents in riot gear. He is asking for $3.9b to $4.2b from Congress for HHS, HLS, Holder and for wild fires. Nothing to secure the border. He can go fund raising but not to the border. He needs to be impeached.

Flag Reply +37 rate up
6 replies
rmorrell200 July 09 2014 at 9:54 AM

I live in Brownsville Texas. Our local and state democratic leaders want President Obama to come here, but he wont. All the local supporters of Obama are now very disappointed in this man, and looks like a total farce. Its a shame when you cant be a democrat and stand up for whats right without being called names.

Flag Reply +36 rate up
5 replies
rsmith2121 July 09 2014 at 10:20 AM

Looks like ut cost us 6-8 Million $ for him to go play pool

Flag Reply +31 rate up
1 reply
weilunion rsmith2121 July 09 2014 at 1:53 PM

Well, he is the CEO in chief of America Inc so don't you think he deserves a little R and R while you look for low paying jobs and prescription medicines?

Flag Reply 0 rate up
1 reply
bienhoa72alum weilunion July 09 2014 at 10:34 PM

R&R, let me give you a little truth here. The president who has taken the most vacation days during his tenure in the past century and a half was Bush. more that 1/8th of his time in office was spent "On vacation", more that four times what the current President has taken. Also - he took many of those "Vacation Days" at his 1700+ acre ranch in Crawford, Texas which the american taxpayer paid millions on for 24/7/365 Secret Service security whether he was there or not. Oh, one more little tidbit to go along with this - Obama doesn't have a "Vaccination Home."

Flag 0 rate up
Brian Evans July 09 2014 at 9:58 AM

He is our champion fund raiser! Sure wish he'd raise some "funds" to feed all these precious "children" (a/k/a Jr. Cartel recruits), so I don't have to with my tax dollars that I don't have any more of!

Flag Reply +23 rate up
3 replies
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